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overview

Showcasing South Africa’s extraordinary natural heritage, this 12-day journey combines comfort and fine living with a sprinkling of adventure. Beginning with a self-drive itinerary along the spectacular Garden Route and Whale Coast to Cape Town, the tour concludes with Big 5 game viewing and a unique elephant encounter in a private reserve.

The first two nights are spent at a grand, cliff-top hotel in Plettenberg Bay, playground for sun-loving connoisseurs of adventure sports and lazy beach life. Then on to Hermanus, a cosy seaside village overlooking Walker Bay, where migrating whales gather in the spring months. An easy drive takes you to Cape Town and the Cellars-Hohenort Hotel, set at the leafy heart of Constantia wine country and home to fine Cape cuisine and a sensational spa. The adventure continues as you fly to the Kruger National Park region and Camp Jabulani for a safari and unforgettable elephant encounters.

Perfect as a honeymoon or to mark a special occasion, this journey can also be tailor-made to include a romantic getaway to the Indian Ocean islands of Mozambique.

Itinerary Highlights

  • Relais & Chateaux properties 
  • Stunning Garden Route scenery
  • Self-drive flexibility & freedom
  • Whale watching in season
  • Excellent Big 5 game viewing
  • Unique elephant-back safari 
  • Exceptional food & wine

Day to Day Itinerary

Days 1-2

A warm South African welcome

The journey begins at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport where you arrive to a friendly greeting and assistance with your transfer to the domestic terminal for your flight to George Airport. Collecting your rental car, you drive the short distance to Plettenberg Bay, a small town tucked into a fold of the Cape’s southern coast and known as the picture-perfect playground of the Garden Route.

The scenery on the way will have primed you for the sight to come: The Plettenberg Hotel sits on a promontory overlooking Formosa Bay, where dolphins are often seen in the surf that washes onto idyllic white-sand beaches. After settling into your suite, pay a visit to the travel desk and chat about what you can do during your stay. Set at the edge of town, this sophisticated, elegant hotel offers easy access to a wide range of local activities ranging from marine tours and mountain biking to golf and horse riding.

With a full day ahead of you, there is plenty of time to discover the other side to this grand hotel: with a spa and award-winning restaurant on offer, The Plettenberg Hotel is also a place to let your senses awaken.

Days 3-4

Discover the Whale Coast

Sunlit seascapes and buckled mountain ranges provide the scenery as you drive along the coastal road to Hermanus, arriving in the afternoon. Set on the great sweep of Walker Bay, this atmospheric town is the best place in the world for land-based whale watching. During the August to November spring months, southern right whales fill the bay, often swimming very close to the cliffs that line the shore.

Your destination is The Marine Hotel, the epitome of grandeur and sophistication, and set high above the breakers that pound this rugged coast. Enjoy a swim in the heated swimming pool after your drive or pay a visit to the Carchele Spa for a revitalising massage.

Two award-winning restaurants vie for your attention at The Marine. The Pavilion offers fine dining that fuses South African flavours with those of the Mediterranean and the East. More casual and contemporary dining is found at Seafood at the Marine, a place of ocean-fresh delights and an interactive kitchen experience. Finish off the evening at The Sun Lounge, a gathering place for guests and locals alike and where you are likely to enjoy an evening of laughter and storytelling. If you feel like a quieter night, simply choose a bottle from the wine cellar and spend an evening listening to waves crashing on the cliffs below.

Days 5-7

Countryside living in Cape Town

A drive along the coast from Hermanus produces some of the most spectacular scenery of the journey so far. Vertical mountains plunge dramatically into a glittering sea, great sweeps of sand and wave-washed boulders at every turn. Table Mountain soon appears on the horizon, and drawn into its folds, you arrive in Constantia, the oldest wine region of the country yet within easy reach of the attractions of Cape Town.

Oak trees and rose gardens herald the appearance of The Cellars Hohenort-Hotel. With its understated elegance and emphasis on luxurious living in a secluded setting, the hotel is a perfect base from which to explore the wonders of Cape Town and still enjoy a countryside ambience - though with a pool, tennis court, spa and even a Gary Player-designed golf green to practise your short game on, you may want to spend some time here as well.

Table Mountain, Cape Point, the V&A Waterfront and the Cape’s magnificent Winelands are all within an hour’s drive from The Cellars Hohenort-Hotel – you have two full days to take as much or as little in as you like. After a day’s sightseeing, take a stroll in the award-winning gardens before giving in to the temptations of the D&D Spa, where you can indulge in an invigorating treatment that will revitalise body and soul. As evening falls, you retire to the elegance of the Martini Bar before deciding which of the hotel’s three gourmet restaurants to dine in.

Days 8-11

An elephant adventure

Departing the Cellars Hohenort for Cape Town Airport, you board a flight to Johannesburg and then connect to Hoedspruit Airport, set near the Kruger National Park. Your guide meets you for the short drive to Camp Jabulani, a family-owned and -managed safari lodge in the private Kapama Game Reserve. Entering the reserve, your eyes feast on grand trees filled with monkeys and birds as herds of swivel-eared impala make way for your vehicle.

Camp Jabulani is an intimate lodge that accommodates only 12 guests in stylish luxury. You feel a sense of calm and tranquillity settling over you as you are escorted to your guest suite, carefully placed in seclusion along a seasonal riverbed in the shade of huge spreading trees. You are in Big 5 territory and three full days of game drives and interpretative walks lie ahead – but Jabulani has a unique activity to offer as well.

The camp is home to the Jabulani herd, made up of elephants rescued by the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre; interaction with these mesmerising creatures is the primary focus here. Nothing can quite compare to being so close to an elephant: instead of being a passive observer, you feel its skin, are touched by its gently sniffing trunk and gaze into eyes that reflect a deep intelligence. Walking with the herd is an exceptional experience - they silently move on huge padded feet, their conversations rumbling all around you. The elephants lead you through their home until you arrive at a crisply-laid table, set in front of the sunset. Sipping on a tall drink and nibbling on a canapé, you toast the wondrous scene, the lightshow in the sky, and the gentle giants around you. And as dusk slips towards darkness, you do something very few people on earth have done - ride an elephant at night through the wilds, seeking out nocturnal creatures with a spotlight and gazing upwards at the ethereal glow of the Milky Way.

Returning to the lodge where the cosy glow of fire and lantern light beckons, delicious aromas waft from the kitchen draw you to the table. The menu has been designed to inspire a sense of delight and indulgence, especially when coupled with one of South Africa’s finest wines. Dining below the stars with the sound of the African night around you makes a fitting end to the day.

Day 12

Farewell to Africa

After a final farewell to Jabulani and the herd, you depart for Hoedspruit to catch your flight back to Johannesburg. Along the way, you recall the experiences and insights you have gained in the previous days: the scenery of the Garden Route and the leaping whales of Hermanus, the magnificence of Cape Town, big cats and elephant encounters at Jabulani. These memories will later bring about a smile whenever you think of them, and no doubt will one day lead you back to Africa. 

Inclusions

  • 2 nights at The Plettenberg on a bed and breakfast basis
  • 2 nights at The Marine Hermanus on a bed and breakfast basis
  • 3 nights at Cellars-Hohenort on a bed and breakfast basis
  • 4 nights at Camp Jabulani on a fully inclusive basis
  • 8 days car rental
  • Flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg
  • Return flight from Johannesburg to Hoedspruit
  • Return road transfer from Hoedspruit to Camp Jabulani

Exclusions

  • International flights
  • Airport taxes
  • All meals and drinks not specified
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature

Tour Rates

  • dates rates from
  • 11 Sep 2014 - 04 Oct 2014 $5765
  • 05 Oct 2014 - 28 Oct 2014 $6300
  • 22 Nov 2014 - 15 Dec 2014 $6340

Our rates are per person sharing unless we note differently.

Please treat all pricing as a guide only:

  • All rates are subject to availability and may change without notice
  • Single supplements may apply

Request a quote or speak to one of our African Safari Experts for the best, most current rates available.

Carlien Parsons

Carlien Parsons

Product Manager

"A great journey for a second trip to South Africa. Stay at beautiful hotels that are all about intimate experiences & tailored service."

From

$5765

Per person sharing

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